Large majorities of older Americans experience significant and troubling gaps in their primary care, according to our new national survey, “How Does It Feel? The Older Adult Health Care Experience,” released April 24, 2012.

The poll focuses exclusively on Americans age 65 and older and assesses whether, in the past 12 months, patients received seven important medical services to support healthy aging, including:

 

  • an annual medication review,
  • a falls risk assessment and history,
  • depression screening,
  • referral to community-based health resources, and
  • discussion of their ability to perform routine daily tasks and activities without help.

 

This type of low-cost, low-tech geriatric care can manage and lower patients’ risk of a number of preventable health problems that erode quality of life, increase health care costs, cause disability, and even kill. Yet only a tiny number (7%) of older adults surveyed received all seven recommended services, all critical elements of a standard geriatric assessment. Fifty-two percent report receiving none or only one, and a large majority (76%) received fewer than half.

The poll also explored older adults’ satisfaction with their care (high), their awareness of available health benefits (low), and their views on whether more geriatrics education is important and would improve health care (yes). We have a variety of materials available to help you learn more about the poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners from February 29, 2012, through March 3, 2012, among 1,028 adults age 65 and older.

Press release
Topline poll results
Powerpoint presentation of results (click “Read-Only” to view)
Poll memo from Lake Research Partners
Health AGEnda blog, “How Does It Feel? Not As Good As It Should”

For assistance and resources in communicating these findings to a variety of audiences, please contact Elliott Walker at Strategic Communications & Planning (ewalker@aboutscp.com; 610-687-5495) or Marcus Escobedo at the John A. Hartford Foundation (marcus.escobedo@jhartfound.org; 212-832-7788).